Mexican spotted owl habitat characteristics in Zion National Park

Sarah E. Rinkevich, R. J. Gutiérrez

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19 Scopus citations


We studied Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) distribution, density, and habitat characteristics in Zion National Park from 1989-1991. We found 28 owls (12 pairs and 4 single males) at 16 different locations throughout the park. Estimated crude density ranged from 0.018-0.042 owls/ km2 while estimated ecological density ranged from 0.216-0.738 owls/km2 over 3 years. Owls were associated with narrow canyons that usually contained a water source. Spotted owls used canyons that had greater absolute humidity and more vegetation strata than canyons selected at random. The geomorphology of these canyons may provide conditions compensatory to the complex forest structure associated with the owl elsewhere within its range by providing cool roosts and nest sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-78
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Raptor Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Density
  • Habitat
  • Mexican spotted owl
  • Microclimate
  • Strix occidentalis lucida
  • Zion National Park


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